‘These photos can inspire hundreds of thousands – perhaps millions who pass this way, to help us consider where came from, and where we are going. I think they are very moving.” Thus commented Maj.-Gen (ret.) Aharon Ze’evi Farkash, who served in the IDF as director of Military Intelligence, head of the Technology and Logistics Directorate, and Commander of Unit 8200, on the new “One to Ninety” photo exhibition celebrating 90 years of The Jewish Agency, which opened this week at Ben-Gurion Airport. Farkash recalls his first days in Israel as a 14-year-old immigrant from Transylvania, Romania, in the Youth Aliyah movement. “We were 18 kids from Morocco, Libya, Romania, the USSR and Yemen,” he says. “Suddenly you understand all of the things you learned about the Diaspora. You see everyone with his own culture, and you are together with them. You eat with them, study Hebrew with them, argue with them. It was a special time.” A 1962 photo of the young Farkash and his compatriots is part of the new exhibition, and appears alongside his recent portrait.Travelers will encounter ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos of individuals who were assisted by The Jewish Agency, and who have remained involved with the organization in its efforts assisting Israelis and Jews around the world. After completing his distinguished military career, Farkash remembered his beginnings, as a student in The Jewish Agency Aliyah village. “When I completed my post as head of military intelligence,” says Farkash, who today is married with five children and 13 grandchildren, “I felt that I owed many things to this place. I approached the head of the dormitory, and I said that I wanted to speak with the boys in the village. They gathered in the synagogue, and I told them how that I had sat on these same benches as them many years ago, and I had become a general in the army. “‘You can be a doctor or or a professor or a reporter, or a general,’ I said, ‘but it’s up to you in the end.’” Farkash served as head of the Ben Yakir youth village for seven years. “It was essential for me to give back what I had received.”IN MAY 1983, eight-year-old Sophie Fellman’s girl scout friends in Guatemala held a farewell party before she and her family moved to Israel. “The girls asked what Israel was like,” she recalls. “I didn’t want to leave, but my mother promised me that Israel is a place you will fall in love with, that you won’t want to leave.” Arriving at the Absorption Center in Ra’anana with her family in a taxi, Sophie was in tears. “The taxi driver said to me, ‘Little girl, in six months you’ll be speaking Hebrew,’ and he gave me a pack of gum.” Within a matter of days, Sophie, reveling in the freedom that Israel affords children to walk around without adult supervision, had no interest in moving back. “The strongest things were the sense of freedom and safety, and friendships. Everything moved a lot faster here.” Recalling the assistance provided by The Jewish Agency, she says, “everyone in the absorption center knew the word ‘Sochnut,’ the Hebrew name for The Jewish Agency. They gave us beds, provided a refrigerator, plates and silverware. They were the entity that helped.”Today, Sophie Fellman Rafalovitz, chairwoman of the Masorti (Conservative) Movement in Israel, lives in Kibbutz Hanaton with her husband and three children and has kept a constant connection with The Jewish Agency and its affiliates. Rafalovitz served as an emissary (‘shlicha’) for United Synagogue Youth in Los Angeles, and later was the regional representative in the Midwestern United States for The Jewish Agency.For Rafalovitz, the exhibition is very significant. “The Jewish Agency, in terms of its ability to identify the needs of the Jewish people and the State of Israel, is very powerful. It is a very important voice in Israel and was one of the first to talk about Jewish peoplehood and the connection between Israel and the Diaspora. The idea that the relationship between Israel and the Diaspora needs to be reciprocal is revolutionary. It’s a voice that needs to be heard in Israel. I am humbled that they chose to put my picture up.”IN 1985, 16-year-old Adena Tadela arrived in Israel from Ethiopia as part of Operation Moses. Tadela and his family were living in a Jewish Agency absorption center in Kiryat Yam, north of Haifa, and he was sent to study at the Mikveh Yisrael youth village in Holon. The photo of Tadela in the exhibition shows him focusing intently on his first Hebrew lessons in a Jewish Agency course. Within three months, Tadela was able to communicate in Hebrew. “It was my first winter in Israel,” he recounts, “and it was cold.” Tadela studied agriculture, and the new methods that he was learning were far different from those that he had studied in his native Ethiopia. Tadela has fond recollections of his two years in the absorption center. “I remember the activities, and our hikes, and studying Hebrew. They helped us with studies, and in other areas, too.” Tadela notes that the absorption center gave him the direction to accomplish and achieve, which led to his undergraduate and graduate degrees. Today, as The Jewish Agency’s delegation director in Ethiopia, where he oversees the process of bringing new Ethiopian immigrants to Israel, Adena Tadela has completed the circle that he began 40 years ago. “The message of the important role of The Jewish Agency throughout the past 90 years,” said Isaac Herzog, chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency, “will be imparted upon all who pass this wonderful exhibit at Ben-Gurion Airport, the main gateway to the State of Israel. The photos tell the special story of making dreams and prayers a reality and, in our 10th decade, connecting the next generation to the Jewish people and to Israel.”This article was written in cooperation with The Jewish Agency for Israel.